India may miss disinvestment target once again in FY19; fiscal deficit set to overshoot limit

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Published: January 18, 2019 5:47:58 PM

After overachieving the divestment goal in the last financial year 2017-18 by a respectable amount, India looks set to miss its disinvestment target for the current fiscal 2018-19 once again

The excise duty cut of Rs 1.5 on per litre of petrol and diesel by the central government is going to hurt the government's fiscal maths as well.After overachieving the divestment goal in the last financial year 2017-18 by a respectable amount, India looks set to miss its disinvestment target for the current fiscal 2018-19 once again.

After overachieving the divestment goal in the last financial year 2017-18 by a respectable amount, India looks set to miss its disinvestment target for the current fiscal 2018-19 once again, resulting in fiscal deficit to shooting over the limit, a research report said. The government has earned only Rs 32,142 crore, or 43% of the budgeted Rs 80,000 crore, from PSU stake sales in the first nine months of FY19, till December.

 

“In this fiscal year meeting the disinvestment target of Rs. 80,000 crore will be challenging for the government given the volatile conditions in the financial markets,” CARE Ratings said in a research report. “We expect that the disinvestment proceeds could be around Rs 60,000 crore for the full fiscal year 2018-19,” CARE Ratings said.

 

The shortfall, projected at about Rs 20,000 crore, coupled with low GST collections, could push the fiscal deficit up to 3.5% of GDP, the report said. The government has a target to limit fiscal deficit at 3.3% of GDP for the current FY19, which looks increasingly difficult to meet with the tax collections falling below estimates, and fears of spending rising ahead of elections.

 

To tackle the situation at hand, the government decided to raise more money from its exchange-traded funds, by issuing another tranche of Bharat 22 ETF. Also, it is expected that the government will raise close to Rs 14,000 crore from sale of 52.63% stake in Rural Electrification Corporation (REC). Further, share buyback by PSUs may fetch another Rs. 12,000 crore, CARE report said.

 

In FY19 so far, ETF has led the disinvestment receipt with it getting the government Rs 25,325 crore. This accounts for 74% share of the total receipts. Bharat 22 ETF alone has brought in Rs 8,325 crore. OFS (offer for sale) followed as the second highest contributor with 15% (Rs 5,218 crore); whereas share buyback (Rs 1,593 crore) and IPOs (Rs 1,704 crore) have garnered 5% each.

 

FY18 was an exception in a five-year trend of the government not meeting disinvestment targets. The report said that on an average, the government had been able to realise only 65% of the targets.

 

However, in FY18,an not only did the government manage to reach its target of Rs 72,500 crore, but also far exceeded it with receipts of Rs 1 lakh crore, the report said. The highest proceeds were received via off-market deal between HPCL and ONGC (37%), it added.

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